Alumni Invitational 3 features artwork that spans four decades—from the late 1960s through the late ’90s—and artists that bring a range of approaches and techniques to their work, from large-scale color photography to recycled furniture design. The four featured artists are Bradley Castellanos, Josh Dorman, Johnny Swing, and Shellburne Thurber.
The artists were selected by Tang Malloy Curator Ian Berry for their unique work, without any intent to illustrate an over-arching theme. The works will be presented as four solo presentations in the Wachenheim Gallery at the Tang.
“All of the artists have been on our radar for many years, and for this show we decided to pick one series or one way of working for each artist’s display,” said Berry. “For Castellanos that means showing brand new work, some finished just last month. For Thurber we picked pieces from two of her best-know bodies of work, and for Dorman and Swing we are bringing together works from different years that show the artists’ individual and eccentric process.”
Bradley Castellanos ’98, who creates mixed-media paintings, begins with large color photographs, from which he carefully cuts and removes sections before adding layers of oil and acrylic paint and resin. Exploring the relationship between nature and civilization, Castellanos’s most recent work depicts figures in forested environments, revealing the beauty and quiet of the natural world and the persistent signs of our destructive actions. Castellanos’ work was shown at the Tang’s 2010 exhibition Lives of the Hudson. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Josh Dorman ’88 creates dense, detailed collage paintings that layer antique topographical maps, scientific illustrations, and nineteenth century engravings with his own ink and acrylic drawings. Teeming with incongruous wildlife, composite buildings, and outmoded technologies, Dorman’s fantastical landscapes conjure up dream-like worlds where histories, time, and space collide. Dorman currently lives and works in New York and teaches at the Spence School.
Johnny Swing ’84 repurposes everyday materials, from U.S. coins and baby food jars to wheelbarrows and satellite dishes, to create furniture, lighting, and other functional sculptures. Deftly merging the often-divided worlds of art and design, Swing’s eclectic sculptures are meticulously created. Quarter Lounge, for example, uses over 5,000 quarters, which required 27,000 welds to make its intricate stainless steel substructure. Swing’s work has been featured annually at New York’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair. Swing currently lives and works in Brookline, Vermont.
Shellburne Thurber, who attended Skidmore in 1967-68, makes photographs that focus on interior spaces where private and mysterious histories and narratives can unfold. From psychoanalyst’s empty offices to abandoned homes, her photographs activate seemingly ordinary and empty sites into reflective, psychologically charged spaces. Thurber’s work has often been linked to the “Boston School,” a loosely affiliated group of photographers whose work in the mid-1970s turned inward onto private lives and spaces. Thurber currently lives and works in Cambridge, Mass., and is a visiting faculty member at the Massachusetts College of Art.